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Language Competency and Social Work Practice in the Old Spanish States Presentation at the Western Social Science Association 2005 Emilia E. Martinez Brawley.

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Presentation on theme: "Language Competency and Social Work Practice in the Old Spanish States Presentation at the Western Social Science Association 2005 Emilia E. Martinez Brawley."— Presentation transcript:

1 Language Competency and Social Work Practice in the Old Spanish States Presentation at the Western Social Science Association 2005 Emilia E. Martinez Brawley and Paz M-B Zorita

2 Purpose To determine whether Spanish language competency was important in social work education in the southwest. To determine whether Spanish competency appeared to be an overwhelming priority of programs. To assess whether interest in Spanish language competence, if any, translated into programmatic initiatives. To assess the level of creativity used by programs, their successes or failures.

3 Methodology letters with an attached survey instrument were sent to 84 U and G program directors listed in the CSWE web-site. Recipients were asked to forward the survey letter to the appropriate person if changes in program leadership had occurred. Six s were immediately returned because of address problems. A letter and survey were sent to all UG and G programs in social work in the southwestern states. Programs were re-assured of the anonymity of their responses. Questions often elicited opinions and respondents were encouraged to answer based on the best of their knowledge A reminder was sent to all two weeks before the deadline.

4 Pilot Nature of Project It was a first effort to survey social work programs about language proficiency issues. It was anticipated that the survey would render information for future research. Many of the questions required narrative answers. More extensive investigation would be necessary before any conclusive comments could be made.

5 Limitations The survey was sent to individuals listed in the CSWE directory, which could have been incomplete or incorrect. The instrument used for the survey could not be pre-tested extensively. There was little opportunity for corroborating the interpretations of the narrative responses done by the authors. The computerized survey rejected selection of program level other than G or UG because of technical problems. Some responses from combined programs were recorded in other narrative responses, but not everybody did this. Many respondent appeared not to have been aware that a range of percentages could be selected in Q.4 by clicking on an arrow. This may have limited the ranges reported.

6 Copy of Questionnaire Spanish Language Competency Questionnaire Please respond by February 15th. Thank you. 1. Your State AZ CA CO NV NM TX UT 2. Your Program C G UG 3. How important is Spanish language competency for social work practice in your state? Very important Important Somewhat important Unimportant Please explain 4. To the best of your knowledge, what percentage of your students are fluent Spanish speakers? (Range provided) 5. In your program, is Spanish language competency … a goal? an aspiration? neither other 6. If a goal or an aspiration, what steps has your program taken to encourage Spanish language competency among your students? Please explain 7.If you have taken some steps, how successful were they? Please explain 8. What were the biggest impediments to your efforts or reasons for inaction? Please explain Thank you. This is the end of the questionnaire.

7 The Data 37 responses were received. This represented 44% percent of the surveyed. The narrative data was analyzed and fitted into categories suggested by the data themselves. Patterns were identified and efforts were made to find some distinctive elements in those patterns. Where appropriate, meta categories were created. As anticipated, the data included some interesting and unique responses that were maintained in the reporting.

8 Survey Questionnaires Sent-- by state Texas38 California23 Utah6 Arizona5 Colorado4 Nevada4 New Mexico4

9 Responses Received by State Texas 16 California 8 Arizona 3 Colorado 3 Nevada 2 Utah 2 New Mexico 1 Non-Identified 2

10 Responses by Program level n=37

11 Findings Most program suggested that Spanish language proficiency was very important (24). Only eight programs stated it was important and two responded somewhat important. The largest number of responses (approx. 42% or 16) from a single state came from TX.

12 Importance given to Spanish language acquisition – by State

13 Reasons given for Spanish language programming decisions – by State (mega categories)

14 Humanistic Categories Cited Border state tradition Global Interests Expansion of Worldview

15 Specific Reasons Cited by State : Large Hispanic Population Growth/Demographics n=17

16 Specific Reasons Cited by State : Monolingual Clientele/ Recent Immigrants n=10

17 Specific Reasons Cited by State : Shortage of bi-lingual workers/Marketability n=8

18 Impediments to Spanish language acquisition Adult Learners or Low Student Effort Faculty Resistance, Language Department Limitations or Low Support Financial Limitations Political Will Priorities No Impediments No Response

19 Impediments to Spanish language acquisition – All reasons n=37

20 No impediments to Spanish language acquisition: by State (actual # reported) n=3

21 Impediments to Spanish language acquisition - by State (actual # reported) Other priorities n=4

22 Impediments to Spanish language acquisition by State (actual # reported) - Political will n=2

23 n=3 Impediments to Spanish language acquisition by State (actual # reported) - Financial limitations

24 Impediments to Spanish language acquisition by State (actual # reported) - Faculty resistance or low support from Language department n=5

25 Impediments to Spanish language acquisition by State (actual # reported) - Adult learners and low student effort n=4

26 Spanish language acquisition - Not required by program level n=19

27 Spanish language acquisition required by program level n=8

28 Spanish language acquisition not encouraged by program level n=7

29 What programs do to achieve language proficiency: Spanish language acquisition encouraged by program level n=22

30 What programs do to achieve language proficiency: Spanish language acquisition intensive training available by program level n=20

31 What programs do to achieve language proficiency: Spanish language acquisition non-intensive training available by program level n=21

32 Types of Language Acquisition Encouragements offered by Programs (intensive or not) Double counting language courses Summer program offerings Bi-lingual track or certification A plus in admission criteria Study abroad language programs

33 Conclusions Response rate was as expected. Spanish language learning, though reportedly of high importance, does not appear to translate into a high programmatic priority. Language learning is conceptualized in utilitarian terms rather than viewed as an asset in and of itself or as a mark of the educated individual. Very few conceptualize the addition of a language as the expansion of their worldview.

34 Conclusions A few programs have developed creative ways of incorporating language learning (e.g. special certificates; language competency tracks.) It appears that in spite of stated market needs, the rewards do not balance the efforts required for competency. There appears not to be a critical mass of faculty comfortable and capable of functioning and training in Spanish.

35 Conclusions Programs appear to rely on existing talent (native speakers) rather than on developing capacity. There appears to be not only competing priorities among subject area requirements but perceived competition among minority language groups. There appears to be perceived problems related to the adult nature of many social work students who are viewed as less flexible and capable of learning a new language.


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